An analysis of changing trends among parents regarding remote pediatric healthcare delivery

by Mark Sorrentino

Coauthors: Michael Durwin,

Medical Devices & Digital Health

During the Covid-19 pandemic, mHealth and telehealth became a primary means for patients to engage their healthcare providers. The emerging use of telehealth has the potential to change the way healthcare is delivered when physical contact is not required. Telehealth companies saw a 258% increase in funding in 2020 from $220 million to $788 million, and total funding for telehealth increased to $4.3 billion in 2020, with overall digital health funding reaching a high of $26.5 billion.

This exploratory study sought to investigate parent attitudes toward telehealth care for their children.

Data was collected from 85 respondents via social listening and online surveys using social media channels for survey distribution. Parents of non-adult children in select countries were targeted for the study, the majority of whom had children between 6-11 years old. The next largest segments in order were parents of 12–18 year-olds and 2–5 year-olds. The survey used multiple choice questions with only a single response allowed, except for the question regarding age groups of their children. The mobile and telehealth aspects of the questionnaire were part of a larger survey that also included questions about clinical trials.

In this initial survey, we found 89% of parents prefer in-person visits to telehealth. On the other hand, 34% said mobile alerts would help them manage appointments and medication. Almost half of parents (49%) who responded to the survey thought mobile alerts would not be beneficial for remembering medication and scheduling appointments. Twenty six percent of parents said their work schedules were the greatest hindrance with accessing their preferred healthcare option, while 40% said they faced no challenges. This study supports the conclusion that parents of pediatric patients are not yet ready to move forward with technology to replace traditional methods of healthcare interaction. When asked their thoughts about healthcare visits in their home, 39% responded positively and 33% were neutral, leaving only 28% who felt negatively about in-home healthcare visits. Despite this market optimism, our research findings indicate that parents are not overwhelmingly turning to technology for their child’s healthcare. In conclusion, while there seems to be interest in mobile apps for health maintenance, parents still prefer traditional, face-to-face healthcare for their children. Further study and audience segmentation will illuminate more detailed information on the perception and interest of patients in using technology interface with healthcare providers.